Q&A: Shipping Embryos to Another Clinic

Some common questions we receive about shipping frozen embryos from one clinic to another.

  1. How are embryos shipped?

Embryos are shipped in liquid nitrogen vapor shippers. To ensure that the process goes smoothly, you should coordinate well with both clinics about the pick-up and drop-off dates and all necessary paperwork. You will also need a shipping provider who will coordinate the logistics and ensure that the shipment gets from clinic A to clinic B safely and quickly.

  1. How are embryos protected during shipping?

Embryos should be shipped in liquid nitrogen shippers that can maintain constant temperatures below -150 degrees Celsius for 10+ days.

  1. Can I ship internationally?

Yes. Many fertility patients who are using a surrogate in another country ship frozen embryos. An experienced cryogenic shipping company should handle all the logistics, including advice on paperwork to clear customs. You will also need to discuss with the respective clinics to ensure that all paperwork has been done and any permits, if needed, have been obtained.

  1. How is customs handled if I ship internationally?

You will need to make sure that your clinics are following all applicable laws and regulations regarding IVF shipments. The clinics will usually be able to assist you with getting the right paperwork done. A company experienced in shipping embryos internationally can also help advise you on getting your embryos through customs with the right paperwork.

  1. How is shipping tracked?

If the IVF shipment is sent via a commercial courier, then normal courier tracking numbers are used e.g. FedEx, UPS, DHL etc. If the shipment is done via hand-carry (onboard courier), then tracking will need to be arranged with the courier to ensure updats are received.

  1. What will shipping include?

Shipping should include logistics coordination directly with the patient and clinics, patient support, the specialized liquid nitrogen container, assistance with paperwork and the shipping itself.

  1. Is it safe to ship embryos internationally with a commercial courier?

For the most part, yes. However, at CryoSend, we always inform clients that it is our opinion that shipping embryos is better done via a hand-carry service and that sperm can be shipped either using a hand carry service or a commercial courier service. Some international courier companies will not ship embryos, such as World Courier and CryoExpress in Europe. For some shipping companies, the risk of something going wrong during an embryos shipment is too great and not worth the risk.

In our view, domestic shipping of frozen embryos, sperm and eggs can safely be done via a commercial courier, however, internationally shipments of embryos need more consideration and hand-carry should be explored as an option.

IVF Shipping Services